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Japan's Seiyu to charge for grocery redelivery by default

Supermarket operator looks to recover food disposal, labor costs

TOKYO -- Japanese supermarket operator Seiyu will charge for redelivery from its online grocery service, seeking to absorb food disposal losses and rising delivery costs amid a labor shortage.

The fee will be 400 yen ($3.59) starting Tuesday. Until now, the Japanese unit of U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores had in its terms of service guided customers to pay by bank transfer after redelivery, but few actually did so.

Customers will pay when a delivery cannot be completed at their specified time, whether they sign up for redelivery or cancel. Seiyu will apply the fee only for home delivery orders from its stores -- which tend to include fresh, refrigerated or frozen goods. Direct orders from its warehouses will not be subject to the fees, despite also being placed online.

Seiyu will also add a dedicated redelivery website, where users will be able to choose a delivery time up to four days in the future, including days they are not at home. Customers had been limited to making arrangements through such contact methods as by phone.

The supermarket operator works with a number of logistics companies including Yamato Holdings unit Yamato Transport, which recently announced it would hike service fees for home delivery from online supermarkets. But Seiyu CEO Takeshi Kamigouchi denies any connection, saying the companies did not discuss price boosts or anything of the sort.

Seiyu is working to generate profit from its online shopping, where it sees sales growing 20% on the year in 2017.

(Nikkei)

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